Guido Ralph Haschke, a 62-year-old consultant who claims to provide “Project Advisory Services”, was arrested on Friday on charges that include money laundering. The Italians suspect he got the multi-million euro commission from helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland to influence politicians and decision makers in Italy and India.
India had in 2010 signed a Rs 3,546 crore deal with AgustaWestland to purchase 12 AW 101 choppers for use by VVIPs including the President and Prime Minister. Reports from Italy over the weekend said investigators have asked the Swiss for Haschke’s custody.
Haschke is active in the Indian defence sector, and is a director in a Chandigarh-based firm called Aeromatrix, an “engineering and design support services organization” that works in areas that include aerospace. He was earlier on the board of Emaar MGF as an independent and non-executive director.
The Indian Express reported in April that Haschke has over the last few years got involved in the Indian defence offsets business, and has had dealings with several Indian firms and individuals in the military business.
Aeromatrix, which has 82 per cent foreign holding and claims an authorised capital of Rs 75 lakh, lists an Italian businessman called Carlo Gerosa as another of its directors. It has emerged that investigators secretly recorded a conversation between Gerosa, Haschke and two other individuals while there were travelling together in a car near Geneva in Switzerland.
This conversation, which is among several other recordings and phone intercepts that have been placed in court by the Naples-based prosecutor probing the case, allegedly contains extensive references to the Indian helicopter deal, and names of Indians and Italians who were allegedly involved in “facilitating” it.
The conversation reportedly also refers to payments of over 20 million euros allegedly made to various parties. Haschke reportedly talks about the money being routed through Mauritius and Tunisia, making it very difficult for investigators to trace.
The Indian Express reported in April that the Indian defence ministry has asked New Delhi’s embassy in Rome to keep track of developments in the case. It is now likely to ask for an updated report.
IN February 2010, AgustaWestland won a Rs 3,546 cr contract for 12 AW 101 helicopters beating Sikorsky’s S-92 Superhawk. The helicopters were to join, in 2012, India’s VVIP aircraft fleet which already has five Embraer 135 jets and three Boeing VVIP aircraft.
EARLIER this year, Italian investigators began probing allegations that AgustaWestland paid a commission of 51 million euros (over Rs 350 crore) to Switzerland-based consultant Guido Ralph Haschke to facilitate the India deal.
INVESTIGATORS are acting on the testimony of Lorenzo Borgogni, a former top executive of Finmeccanica, the parent company of AgustaWestland. They are focussed on allegations that the helicopter company bribed Italian political parties and paid commissions in India.
This case is only a small one- I wish more such cases comes out. In a deal of 3450 Cr- whopping 10% ( 350 cr) as a commission. God Saves these greedy folks.
Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual, the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country.